On the morning of May 3, 2019, Attorney Brad Vinson was upset. Why? One of our clients had been unjustly treated by the Williamson County Sheriff's Department to dramatize a TV show, and he wanted answers.
The previous evening, a SWAT team was deployed to our client's home. They were decked out in helmets and military gear and brought a bulletproof vest-clad German Shepard to the location. They released a smoke bomb on the front porch and bashed the front door in with a battering ram.
Once inside, the team located our client, pushed him against a wall in the living room, and patted him down. Then, they proceeded to handcuff him.
Although tactics like these are used in high-risk situations after all other techniques to take a suspect into custody have failed, Attorney Vinson argued that our client's situation did not warrant such extreme measures.
Just a few hours before the SWAT team invaded our client's home, he was at the Williamson County Courthouse for a routine hearing. In September of 2018, he was accused of assaulting his roommate during an argument, and as a condition of pretrial release, he had to meet with a judge regularly.
At any time during our client's visit to the courthouse, officials could have executed the arrest warrant issued in his name 15 days earlier. But they didn't. That was likely because the warrant was coded in a way that only a few people within the sheriff's department could see it.
This supposed gaffe, and the fact that when Attorney Vinson confronted District Judge Donna King about our client's arrest, she stated that no one at the court was aware an arrest warrant had been issued, suggested to Attorney Vinson that the SWAT deployment was all part of a plan to create more dramatics for the TV show "Live PD." The crew of "Live PD" followed members of the Williamson County Sheriff's Department as they make arrests.
Our client's case isn't the only time a warrant was mishandled for the show. Former law enforcement officials told the Statesman that they had been asked to act on warrants prematurely to get the arrests on TV. They claimed that such unethical practices were not standard before the contract with "Live PD" was made. For the most part, arrests were handled quietly, usually with the suspects turning themselves in or the detective taking them into custody.
At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, we don't tolerate anybody being mistreated by law enforcement officials, and we do what's right to ensure unjust practices are addressed. If you've been accused of a crime in Austin, our team will stand up for you. To discuss your case, call us at (512) 359-3743 or contact us online today.